Away We Go!

So here we are. The BIG REVEAL! If this were Extreme Makeover: Home Addition there would be a bus parked in front of my house with 10,000 screaming neighbors hoping to be on TV so they could call all of their friends and say “I’m going to be on TV!” Well it’s not an entire home makeover, just a table (so a bus would have been a little extreme) but I was pretty excited. She had been out of town visiting her best friend in Scottsdale, AZ while I stayed up all night for 3 nights straight putting on the finishing touches. First removing the table legs from our old table and sanding them down to the bare wood. Then, while watching a Resident Evil marathon on Netflix, painting the legs and skirt boards in 2 layers of chocolate brown followed by 2 layers of antique white. The following day and night were spent sanding off the edges of the newly painted pieces to make them look old and worn and then putting everything together, cleaning up my mess along with the rest of the house to get everything perfect. Month’s of planning, scheming and lying had all come down to the final moment where she would find it all out. I would finally let her know that I had been sneaking around, lying and letting her wallow in a caffeine induced pregnant panic attack, and show her why. Although some may say that I do it to be romantic, I don’t. I do it because she is my best friend, my love and my partner in everything. I do it because I want to see her smile the kind of smile that comes from total surprise, total happiness and getting that thing you thought would never be a reality and knowing that someone did it all for you. Soon we will have a little one added to our family and I did it for him too. Because I want him to know that his parents loved each other for each and every one of the nine years they were together before he arrived, and they will love each other for each and every one of the years that will follow.

So I was excited and a little nervous! There is always that little bit of “what if” that lies beneath. What if they don’t like it, what if they don’t react the way you hoped or imagined, what if while you are driving to the airport to pick her up a fire breaks out in the living room and destroys JUST the table so that when she comes home she only see’s a pile of smoldering ashes in the middle of the dining room floor! I do love irrational possibilities (and I actually enjoyed the lying, I’m just so good at it)! Well she did come home, she did see it, there was no fire and well, I must say….

She Loved It! And I love her.

Happy Anniversary my beautiful lady!

PS: I would like to give a special thanks to my iPhone 4 for taking each and every one of these beautiful pictures documenting my labor of love. Thank you iPhone.

Days 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: Start with the Finish

During my research, I looked several different finishes for the table.  Antique White, Dark Mahogany Stain, Pickled.  Yeah that’s right, I said Pickled.  But after seeing the way the wood had come out and the dynamic of the different colored pieces of cedar wood, I couldn’t even begin to think about covering it up with paint or dark stain.  So I decided on a Natural stain by Minwax.  The Natural stain simply makes the wood look wet while bringing out all of the grains natural beauty.

What do you think?

To seal the grain and make the table waterproof, I decided to go with Tung Oil.  It’s an oil that is taken from the nuts of the Tung Tree.  You will often see it used on Guitars.  The coolest part of using Tung Oil is that if the surface should ever become scuffed or scratched, you can simply wipe the table down with more Tung Oil and the mark will buff right out!  To apply, you simply wipe on with a rag or brush and let stand for 24 hours.  I will be making a trip back to the shop each day to apply a new coat.  On the final, you want about 10 to 12 coats.

I will  be making a LOT of trips out to the shop to get it just right!

Day 3: I think I’ve got some sand in my lies.

I told Erin I had to walk a house with a customer that afternoon because there was a problem with the house earlier that day when we had originally scheduled it.  She said I should request to have some time off since I was working so much after regular hours. Actually, I had completed that walkthrough by 2 and just left early again to work on the table!

Today is the day when I get down to the nitty gritty.  Sanding down the table to make it smooth, even and kid friendly (no splinters for the little one)

Just a little Dirty.  As you can see, I didn’t wear a dust mask.  Brilliant!  Definitely a job for the Neti Pot!

End of Day 3 and here’s what I’ve got so far!

Day Two: Working on Saturday! Oh this Sucks! Or Does it?

After the glue had dried, it was now time to move on to installing the bread boards and beginning the sanding.  I told Erin I had to work on a Saturday, not entirely a lie.

We had to get a little tricky when cutting the mortis along the edges of the table.  We couldn’t necessarily run the table itself along a saw.

Using a skill saw with a ledge, we cut several lines along the edge of the table until we had our desired groove.

I’m actually doing the work in the dining room of Doug’s unfinished house.  It is going to be beautiful when it’s finished!

 Here’s the view from what will be his front porch!

After scraping off the excess glue and hitting it a little with the belt sander, a 3 hour Saturday work day had lasted 6.  Remember that little lie about meeting with some home buyers I had pocketed the other day?  I told Erin they had called while I was out there and asked to come by then!  Meanwhile, Erin was having a mild panic attack because she had decided to have some coffee that morning (the first since she had become pregnant) and was blowing up my phone to get me home.  Away I Go!

Day One: Sorry Babe, I’ve got to work a little late.

I told Erin that I might be working late when actually I had taken off work early to meet with Doug and pick out the wood we would use for the table.

I decided to make the table out of Cedar wood.  Both for its color and texture, not to mention cedar smells amazing!  Here’s a picture of the rough cedar I used at the mill.

Marlon at the mill was nice enough to run the rough cedar through this 40 year old drum sander to give it a smooth feel.  This particular machine is over 30 years old!  They have equipment there that is over 70 years old and still going strong!


To make the table stay together and not have the wood “walk” on us, we cut a mortis along the edge of each plank.  In the mortis, we installed a spline and used glue to hold it all together.

Here’s a preview of what it will look like in the end.

End of day 1: I ended up staying at Doug’s shop until almost 7.  I thought this might be a problem so I had a lie prepared for Erin when I got home about having to meet with a home buyer to walk their house.  Fortunatly, Erin ended up working until about 8 so I got home, showered, ate dinner and was waiting when she arrived as if I had been there the entire night.  I’ll store that lie for later.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

I love it when a plan comes together!.  Especially when that plan is already in motion without having all of the details ironed out and as I make my way through the confusion, the plan just unfolds before me.  This was the case with Operation FHT.

Step One: Find out how to build a table.  Google should be helpful with this.  Just a few hours searching around for “Farmhouse table plans”, “How to build a Farmhouse table” “Farmhouse table images” etc. and I have a pretty good idea what this will entail.

Step Two: Talk to your friends at the lumber company about which wood would be best to use.

Now I had just planned on finding the best price I could get for the wood that I would use for this project.  I THOUGHT that I had a pretty good idea of how to build a table so I just called my friend Greg at Millcreek to ask him about which wood he would suggest and how cheap he could get it to me for.  While talking to Greg, he just happens to mention that one of the guys he works with, Doug Jackson,  builds tables all the time and might have some pointers.  One conversation with Doug, and I realize that I have now real idea of how to build a table, and now where near the tools to do start.  That’s when Doug makes me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  For a small price, he will teach me how to build the table AND let me use his workshop in the process!. SCORE!  With this fortune in hand, I proceeded to start the process of lying to Erin in order to sneak away and work on her table.  I knew that I would want to have proof of the affair, so I brought my trusty iPhone with me every step of the way!.

No Way? Know-How!

So there we are, living in the new house, preparing for the new baby (which means among other things, going on a budget diet), and a 9th Anniversary on the way in June.  Now if we had been still living in the other house and weren’t expecting a little one to be arriving soon, I could have planned a fun getaway for us to take on this 9 year mark.  But we aren’t in the old house, thankfully, and we are expecting a little, wonderfully!, so I will have to come up with some other way of showing my lady just how much she means to me.  You see, I’m not one for cliched displays of affection (I’d rather spend hours making a necklace out of her favorite macaroni noodles than  grab some roses and a box of chocolates on my way home from work)  But what to do on a slimmed down budget?  Well, when you are having trouble thinking of anything yourself, the best thing I’ve found to do is shut up and listen, and so I did.

“Ohh, Farmhouse table!”  “Oh WOW! Look at this Farmhouse table!”  “I just pinned this beautiful Farmhouse table!” “I SOOO want a Farmhouse table!”  “Farmhouse Table!” “Farmhouse Table!” “Farmhouse Table!”

Hmmm, I know!  I will build her a farmhouse house table.  Only one problem, I didn’t know how to build a Farmhouse table.  Actually, with my experience building houses, I could have built her an actual Farmhouse, but not a damn table.  Well hell, a little lack of know-how has never stopped me.  If I don’t know how to do something, then there is only one thing to do, LEARN HOW!